Thursday, February 07, 2008

Distractionfest 2008: day 2 - keeping it smooth

Obviously, yesterday being Ash Wednesday, there was a one day hiatus in Distractionfest.

But today we return, after having witnessed the sublimity of Jacques Brel, to behold the ridiculousness of Yacht Rock. The phrase 'yacht rock' is used to describe the smooth rock hits which proliferated in the years 1976 to 1984, associated with names such as Michael McDonald, the early Kenny Loggins, The Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan, Christopher Cross and others. Yacht Rock is also the name of a series of videos released on channel101.com and youtube.com, created by J.D. Ryzner.

There are currently 11 in the series, the most recent being released just last week. Each of the videos manages both to send up the genre and also serves as an affectionate, if ironic, tribute to it. They are worth watching for a laugh, as well as to listen to some fine older smooth rock. (Tho' they aren't afraid to pull out the f-bomb...you've been warned.) Each fictional story focuses on the creation of at least one song, featuring outlandish yarns of how it came to be and the personalities behind them; if they are noteworthy for nothing else, they at least present a staggeringly accurate portrayal of John Oates and his personality...or not.

My personal favourites are episodes one and two, and I present them here for your distraction...er, enjoyment.

Here's Episode 1, the one that started it all, with the story of the genesis of 'What a Fool Believes'.

And here is Episode 2, featuring a songwriting duel between Hall & Oates (on the one hand) and Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins (on the other). Some fine cameos by Peter Cetera and Christopher Cross fill out what might be the best episode of the series.

In case YouTube is being stroppy, you can also see all eleven episodes at channel101.com.

Many thanks to my brother Matt - of Baconsteak fame - for connecting me to these videos when he was recently visiting. Here's a link to a cool short video of him playing the guitar.

Look for more Distractionfest 2008 soon!

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